View Poll Results: I view the Orcadians as...

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  • ...Scottish, or a sub-group thereof,

    1 100.00%
  • own, separate ethnicity,

    0 0%
  • ...and I believe they should be independent/have their own, separate state.

    0 0%
  • ...but I don't believe they should be independent/have a separate state.

    1 100.00%
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Thread: Are the Orcadians Scottish or a Separate Ethnic Group? Should They Be Independent?

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    Are the Orcadians Scottish or a Separate Ethnic Group? Should They Be Independent?

    I've seen the Orcadians on a list of stateless nations and it prompted me to ask this question. Do you view them as an own ethnic group or as a subgroup of the Scottish? Do you believe they should be independent, autonomous or is the current arrangement the most pragmatic? Also please motivate your choice.

    I've added a poll which is multiple choice (one for the ethnicity question, one for the question of independence). Please pick the two options which fit your view most.

    Here some information I could find on this topic:

    According to Wikipedia,
    Orcadians are the people who live in or come from the Orkney islands of Scotland. Historically, they are descended from the Picts, Norse and Scots.

    The term Orcadian eflects a strongly held identity with a tradition of understatement. Although the annexation of the earldom by Scotland took place over five centuries ago in 1472, some Orcadians regard themselves as Orcadians first and Scots second. However in response to the national identity question in the 2011 Scotland Census, self-reported levels of Scottish identity in Orkney were in line with the national average.

    The Scottish mainland is often referred to as "Scotland" in Orkney, with "the mainland" referring to Mainland, Orkney. The archipelago also has a distinct culture, with traditions of the Scottish Highlands such as tartan, clans, bagpipes not indigenous to the culture of the islands. However, at least two tartans with Orkney connections have been registered and a tartan has been designed for Sanday by one of the island's residents, and there are pipe bands in Orkney.

    Native Orcadians refer to the non-native residents of the islands as "ferry loupers", ("loup" meaning "jump" in the Scots language) a term that has been in use for nearly two centuries at least.

    Orkney Islands see Scottish referendum as chance of freedom

    The Orkney Islands have been part of Scotland for more than 500 years, but it is a mark of the distinctive culture of this green and windswept archipelago that many locals still do not think of themselves as very Scottish.

    “I’m an Orcadian in a globalised world,” says James Stockan, an Orkney councillor who like many of his neighbours feels his primary identity lies with the islands rather than the Scottish mainland across the turbulent Pentland Firth.

    As Scotland prepares for a referendum on independence from the UK, local loyalties are gaining wider political significance. Seizing the opportunity presented by the plebiscite, Orkney council has joined with Shetland and the Western Isles to demand greater autonomy from both Edinburgh and London.

    The devolution push has won attention from Scottish and UK policy makers, not least because of longstanding speculation that Shetland and Orkney, with their substantial oil wealth, may choose not to be part of an independent Scotland.

    “No self-respecting Orcadian calls themselves Scottish,” laughs one local Scottish government agency employee, who describes herself and a colleague as both having “mixed marriages”.

    “My husband is a Scot and hers is an Englishman,” she says.

    Tom Muir, exhibitions officer at the Orkney Museum and a professional storyteller, says islanders nurture the legacy of a Viking past from before the archipelago was traded to Scotland as part of the dowry of a Norwegian princess in the 15th century.

    Nostalgia was fuelled by the brutality of early Scots rulers of the islands and the imposition of English on a population that previously spoke a Norse dialect.

    But while Orcadians retain distinctive attitudes, accents and music, cultural links with the rest of Scotland are deep and growing. Indeed, Mr Muir detects a creeping “Scottification” of the islands marked by widening use of the Scottish flag.

    “A lot of Orcadians bang on about ‘I’m Orcadian’, but as soon as there is a Scotland football or rugby match, suddenly out come the Saltires,” he says.

    Orkney is certainly no hotbed of separatist resentment. The archipelago’s economy is buttressed by tourism and an emerging renewables energy sector that has helped it weather the UK’s economic downturn.

    Locals speak proudly of an outward-looking island culture that welcomes the increasing flow of immigrants from Scotland and the rest of the UK.

    Indeed, such is the calm and democratic flavour of the UK’s current constitutional debate that even Orcadians who talk wistfully of possible future independence for the northern islands say its appeal lies less in nationalist sentiment and more in the ability to set policy locally.

    “For us, Edinburgh, London, Brussels – they are all relatively remote,” says Mr Stockan.

    The joint devolution campaign with Shetland and the Western Isles is focusing on practical issues, including calls for island authorities to gain control of the seabed from the UK’s Crown Estate and of ferry services from the Scottish government.

    The Scottish government has to set up a ministerial working group that met for the first time this week to discuss what powers could be transferred to the islands if Scotland votes for independence next September.

    And Michael Moore, Liberal Democrat Scottish secretary in the UK government, has called the islands’ devolution case “strong in principle and right in intention”.

    Steven Heddle, convener of the Orkney council and a leading figure in the devolution push, says he is still waiting for a detailed response from the Conservatives and Labour, but that the islands are willing to push “very hard” for firm commitments from all parties well before referendum day.

    Mr Heddle says he personally expects Orkney to remain part of Scotland whatever the result of the vote.

    But he suggests neither side of the independence debate should take Orkney’s loyalty for granted, pointedly noting that the UN already has independent member states with populations smaller than the island group’s 21,530 people.

    “That would be the thermonuclear option. It would come with so much danger and difficulty,” Mr Heddle says of seeking independence. “[But] we shouldn’t rule anything out.”

    The Orcadian flag:

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    In the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, Orkney voted more than any other Scottish area to stay with England at 67.2%. But they also voted in 2016 to remain in the European Union by 63.2%.

    "Scottish islanders are exploring ways of loosening ties with Scotland and the UK following the Brexit vote including full independence, it has emerged.

    More than half of Orkney's councillors have forced through a motion demanding an investigation into “greater autonomy or self-determination” amid the vote to leave the European Union and a possible second independence referendum. Many residents have hoped for greater autonomy from the Scottish Government in the past, and were promised more powers in the event of Scottish independence.

    Orkney has traditionally been extremely hostile to Scottish independence and preferred Westminster government to that from Holyrood. They were part of Norway, not Scotland, until the late 15th century. However, a 2013 poll found only 8% per cent backed leaving Scotland in the event of independence. The islanders overwhelmingly backed remaining in the UK and the European Union at both referendums in 2014 and 2016.

    A motion passed by 13 of Orkney Islands Council's 21 members has demanded the chief executive compile a report considering "whether the people of Orkney could exercise self-determination if faced with further national or international constitutional changes, or indeed to decide if more autonomy might be beneficial for the wellbeing of Orkney." The motion also says the report should look at what would be needed to "consider such opportunities for greater autonomy or self-determination" with both the UK and Scottish Governments.

    Graham Sinclair, an independent councillor who drafted the motion, said: "I think the islands are more significantly different - both historically and culturally - from the rest of the country. "It is a very preliminary shot. It is to consider whether there is the possibility of constitutional changes." Mr Sinclair said that a new opinion poll might be carried out to determine how people living on the islands feel about the issue."

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